How a Swing Set Explains the World

My big Soviet block housing building in Sosnivka opened onto a large courtyard. It was snow covered in winter, verdant spring, sun drenched in summer, and copper-coloured with turning leaves in the autumn. If I stood on my crumbling concrete balcony (which didn’t do often: I was always nervous it would fall straight off the…

Reflections

Just about two years ago, I completed my Peace Corps service in Ukraine. It’s amazing to me that it’s been so long! How is it that it was more than 48 months ago that I was living in Sosnivka, teaching English, and living off smetana and pelmeni? I’m getting too old I guess…time is beginning…

Ukraine Now

And now for some less reflective, more pertinent thoughts on my recent trip to Ukraine (if you want the reflection and emotion, check out this recent post): Several of you have expressed interest in knowing what it was like to be in Ukraine during this critical time in her history. Thus, below (nicely organized in bolded headings so…

And Again Goodbye

As a student in Paris, I fell entirely in love. With the city, my host family, a boy, my friends: life was blissful. I was in love with the world that year. Yet when it ended and I left Paris, I didn’t cry. I don’t even remember feeling sad. I left Paris behind, and returned to California without much…

The Time Traveler

I’m moving backwards in time. Seventeen months ago, I left Ukraine. I flew on a Pegasus Airlines flight from Ukraine to Istanbul. Tonight I’m making that journey in reverse. This morning, I left from Stockholm. There, everyone spoke English perfectly; in cafes, people paid with plastic; drinks were served cold; and everyone had a smart phone. By…

The Contrarian Path

A friend recently described me as occupying a stage in life when one is prone to wandering and adventuring. Is that true? Am I going through a phase, or is this just the way I am: a constant wanderer, ever craving a new scene? Although I have spent the last few years wandering, now, for the…

What a pumpkin pie (in France) can teach you about life abroad

It’s no secret that I’ve spent much of my life living in other countries. While this sounds romantic, and can often be, most of the time it’s just life. I get up in the morning, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, exercise, read a book, eat dinner, and go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat….

Strawberry Fields Aren’t Forever

“Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.” -JFK I’ve been thinking a lot lately about an essay I read a long time ago. I must have been in 8th or 9th grade when my mom came home with a college entrance…